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Turkish Press Review, 02-11-04

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>

<LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> <map name="FPMap1"> </map> <map name="FPMap1"></map> Press &amp; Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

04.11.2002

AKP CLAIMS VICTORY IN ELECTIONS; LARGE MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT FORESEEN ERDOGAN: “TURKEY IS PASSING THROUGH A CRITICAL CROSSROADS” BAHCELI TO RELINQUISH AKP LEADERSHIP ECEVIT: “THE COALITION COMMITTED SUICIDE” EU OFFICIAL: “THE WINNING PARTY MUST TAKE STEPS TOWARDS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BID” TUSIAD: “THE AKP SHOULD RESPECT THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE REPUBLIC” PAPANDREOU: “GREECE WILL COOPERATE WITH WHICHEVER PARTY WINS IN TURKEY” US OFFICIALS CAUTIOUSLY POSITIVE ON AKP VICTORY CHIEF OF STAFF GEN. OZKOK IN WASHINGTON FOR HIGH-LEVEL MEETINGS FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS TURKISH ELECTIONS BY ORHAN ERINC (CUMHURIYET) THE AKP’S VICTORY BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)

CONTENTS

  • [01] AKP CLAIMS VICTORY IN ELECTIONS; LARGE MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT FORESEEN
  • [02] ERDOGAN: “TURKEY IS PASSING THROUGH A CRITICAL CROSSROADS”
  • [03] BAHCELI TO RELINQUISH AKP LEADERSHIP
  • [04] ECEVIT: “THE COALITION COMMITTED SUICIDE”
  • [05] EU OFFICIAL: “THE WINNING PARTY MUST TAKE STEPS TOWARDS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BID”
  • [06] TUSIAD: “THE AKP SHOULD RESPECT THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE REPUBLIC”
  • [07] PAPANDREOU: “GREECE WILL COOPERATE WITH WHICHEVER PARTY WINS IN TURKEY”
  • [08] US OFFICIALS CAUTIOUSLY POSITIVE ON AKP VICTORY
  • [09] CHIEF OF STAFF GEN. OZKOK IN WASHINGTON FOR HIGH-LEVEL MEETINGS
  • [10] FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
  • [11] TURKISH ELECTIONS BY ORHAN ERINC (CUMHURIYET)
  • [12] THE AKP’S VICTORY BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)

  • [01] AKP CLAIMS VICTORY IN ELECTIONS; LARGE MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT FORESEEN

    The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has claimed victory in yesterday’s elections, paving the way for Turkey’s first single-party government in over a decade. According to unofficial results, the AKP and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) were the only two parties out of a field of 18 to meet the 10% threshold required to enter Parliament. In addition, nine independents also won seats in Parliament. Some 10.5 million of Turkey’s altogether 41.5 million voters didn’t cast ballots in the Sunday elections. With around 99 percent of votes tallied, the AKP won some 34.1 percent of the ballots, which translates into 361 seats in Parliament, while the CHP won 19.3 percent of the votes, meaning it captured 180 seats. The AKP is thus likely to enjoy a massive majority in Parliament, just a few seats short of the two-thirds needed to amend the Constitution. Meanwhile, the three current government coalition parties were all turned back, with the senior Democratic Left Party (DSP) getting 1.2% of the vote, the Motherland Party (ANAP) garnering 5.1%, and the Nationalist Action party (MHP) receiving 8.4%. Tansu Ciller’s center-right True Path Party (DYP) hovered just below the 10% threshold with 9.5% of the votes. If the DYP fails to break through 10% in the final results, many of its seats will go to the AKP, delivering to the party an iron grip on the nation’s assembly. /All Papers/

    [02] ERDOGAN: “TURKEY IS PASSING THROUGH A CRITICAL CROSSROADS”

    Speaking last night while ballots in Turkey’s general elections were still being counted, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of elections winner the Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that Turkey was going through a critical crossroads. At a press conference at his party’s Istanbul headquarters, Erdogan expressed hope that the elections would prove beneficial for the entire nation. He stressed that the results of yesterday’s elections -- in which preliminary results gave the AKP 34.1 of the vote, translating into a large majority in Parliament -- had reflected the national will. Turkey will experience a very different order with respect to basic rights and freedoms with the AKP at the country’s helm, pledged Erdogan. /All Papers/

    [03] BAHCELI TO RELINQUISH AKP LEADERSHIP

    Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), a partner in the coalition government that went down to defeat in yesterday’s elections, said last night that he would step down from the MHP’s helm. At a press conference following release of the unofficial election results, Bahceli took full responsibility for his party’s poor sharing and vowed to step down from the MHP’s leadership after a convention next year. Stressing that everyone should respect the results of the elections, Bahceli said, “The MHP lost support of about 10%, which is not what we expected.” In the 1999 elections the MHP polled at about 18%, but yesterday it failed to pass the 10% threshold required for representation in Parliament. The MHP will continue its mission next year under new leadership, added Bahceli. / All Papers/

    [04] ECEVIT: “THE COALITION COMMITTED SUICIDE”

    Prime Minister and Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Bulent Ecevit, after a meeting with his party’s senior staff last night, told reporters that he had not expected the DSP to fare so poorly in yesterday’s general elections, with only about 1% of voters casting ballots for his ruling party. He stressed, however, that the result was an expression of the people’s choice. “After three-and-a-half years in power,” said Ecevit, “our coalition partners pressed for early elections just before the fruit of our hard work had time to blossom. This was a tremendous mistake. It was as if the coalition cut its own throat.” /All Papers/

    [05] EU OFFICIAL: “THE WINNING PARTY MUST TAKE STEPS TOWARDS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BID”

    Speaking yesterday as ballots in Turkey’s elections were being tallied, indicating that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was the apparent but unofficial winner, a high-placed European Union official said that which party won the polls was less important than that it take steps forward on the nation’s EU membership bid. “The EU is not inclined to be prejudiced against the AKP,” the official said. He added that he respected the nation’s choice and foresaw no problems in Turkish-EU relations as long as an AKP government continued the current government’s reform process. The EU will respond formally to Turkey’s election results after they become official, in a few days’ time. /Milliyet/

    [06] TUSIAD: “THE AKP SHOULD RESPECT THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE REPUBLIC”

    Upon release yesterday of unofficial results from Turkey’s general elections, which put the Justice and Development Party (AKP) as the apparent winner, the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) urged the AKP to respect the republic’s basic principles and rules of governance. In a written statement, TUSIAD called “indispensable” the role of the opposition parties and the voice of public opinion, adding that the AKP should continue to cooperate with the International Monetary Fund and carry out the nation’s economic program. Since under Turkey’s election rules nearly half of the ballots cast, 40%, will go unrepresented in Parliament, said TUSIAD, the AKP bears a great responsibility. Though it received some 34.1% of the votes in yesterday’s elections, the AKP is placed to take a majority of seats in Parliament and assume one-party rule. The statement further exhorted the AKP to continue Turkey’s legal and institutional reforms for its European Union membership bid and to lead a vigorous foreign policy ahead of the key EU Copenhagen summit in December. /Milliyet/

    [07] PAPANDREOU: “GREECE WILL COOPERATE WITH WHICHEVER PARTY WINS IN TURKEY”

    In an interview with Greek daily To Vima over the weekend, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou pledged that Greece would cooperate with whichever political party emerged the winner and formed a new government in Turkey in the wake of Sunday’s polls. Papandreou remarked that he expected the new government to do its utmost to improve Turkish-EU relations and find a permanent solution to the Cyprus problem. Stating that he hoped a stable government would be established to address Turkey’s economic and political problems, Papandreou said, “Greece expects the new Turkish government to strive mightily in order to fulfill the EU’s Copenhagen criteria and to continue enacting new reforms for further democratization.” /Hurriyet/

    [08] US OFFICIALS CAUTIOUSLY POSITIVE ON AKP VICTORY

    Speaking to daily Hurriyet, a number of US officials stated that yesterday’s apparent victory of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey’s general elections constituted an expression of the nation’s political will, and one which the Bush administration would respect. Stating that AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent statements on his party’s economy policy were both positive and constructive, the US officials stressed that as long as the new government pledged to continue implementing the IMF-backed economy program, they foresaw no problems between the two countries concerning economic policy. “I think if the AKP doesn’t forget Turkey’s commitments to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, its single-party government as a conservative party advocating moderate Islamic values will be very beneficial for the Turkish nation,” said one US official. /Hurriyet/

    [09] CHIEF OF STAFF GEN. OZKOK IN WASHINGTON FOR HIGH-LEVEL MEETINGS

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok yesterday flew to Washington for a visit at the invitation of his US counterpart, Gen. Richard Myers. During his one-week stay in the US, Gen. Ozkok is scheduled to meet with Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Gen. Ozkok is expected to confer with US officials on the Iraq issue and reiterate Turkey’s sensitivities and requests on the matter. /Cumhuriyet/

    [10] FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS

    [11] TURKISH ELECTIONS BY ORHAN ERINC (CUMHURIYET)

    Columnist Orhan Erinc comments on Turkey’s general elections. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Yesterday’s general elections swept away from our political scene the three partners of the coalition government, namely the Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP), who were held responsible by voters for the country’s current economic crisis. Yet, voters didn’t seem content to do that alone, and also showed at the polls a clear lack of confidence in the New Turkey Party (YTP), the Felicity Party (SP) and the True Path Party (DYP). The underlying reason behind all this is readily apparent: The current sickly state of Turkey’s economy.

    Turkey has rushed into these elections, without making a single change to the Elections Law, especially to the 10% threshold, and it all boiled down to an unjust and unfair situation as the political will of 45% of the voters will go entirely unrepresented in Parliament. If the threshold were 5%, the DYP, the MHP, the Young Party (GP), the Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) and even ANAP could have sent their deputies to Parliament. In that case, the percentage of unrepresented votes would have hovered at around 10%, and the legitimacy of the elections would not be so much in doubt. Moreover, independent candidates, who managed to attract only 1% of the total vote, actually ended up winning eight parliamentary seats, whereas a party with almost 9.5% voter support failed to take a single one.

    When it comes to the Republican People’s Party (CHP), its success is apparently an illusory one. Except for 1999’s general elections, in which it failed to enter Parliament, the CHP’s votes in yesterday’s elections showed no increase in its usual support. Moreover, we don’t know yet how Kemal Dervis’s presence in the CHP ranks affected the voters’ decisions.

    The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) coming to power with a massive majority of seats capable of amending the Constitution has created a great deal of uneasiness. However, let me remind my readers that the article of our Constitution defining the basic principles of the Republic of Turkey, which includes the principle of secularism, cannot be amended, nor can amendments to it be proposed. Even if such a proposal were made, the president has the right to put it to a referendum.

    Last night on television we watched two party leaders. MHP Chairman Devlet Bahceli said that he blamed himself for his party’s failure in the elections and announced that he wouldn’t stand in the next race for the MHP chairmanship. The AKP’s controversial leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan uttered two very significant sentences. We heard him saying: ‘As Ataturk stated, sovereignty is vested fully and unconditionally in the Turkish nation,’ and, ‘We will be respectful of everyone’s lifestyles.’ Now, did he mean by that that if the AKP held power with a majority, whatever it does will be legitimate? Or, did he mean that the AKP would lift all the restrictions on the headscarf issue, which is in Turkey a political symbol? We’ll have to wait and see.”

    [12] THE AKP’S VICTORY BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Derya Sazak comments on the results of the elections held yesterday. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Yesterday’s general elections resulted in a victory for the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Preliminary results show the AKP coming to power single-handedly with nearly 35% of the votes and 350 deputies’ seats. This picture provides the AKP with the chance to be Turkey’s ‘majority party’ for the 2000s. The Republican People’s Party (CHP), the AKP’s chief competitor, has become the ‘main opposition’ with nearly 20% of votes and 200 deputies. In other words, Parliament will probably be divided between just two parties. The AKP and CHP shared between themselves 55% of the vote and the remaining parties got 45%. Thus these elections were no surprise for the AKP and CHP. The True Path Party (DYP) and Nationalist Action Party’s (MHP) inability to pass the 10% threshold might enable the AKP to reach a ‘constitutional majority’ with 367 seats. It was clear that these elections would ones of purification. The Democratic Left Party (DSP) was cut off at its feet. The Motherland Party (ANAP) failed to enter Parliament for the first time since 1983 elections. It was the MHP which, following Prime Minister Ecevit’s illness, pushed for polls on Nov. 3. However, the elections weren’t good for the coalition partners. They paid a heavy price for the economic crisis of February 2001. The themes of poverty and corruption determined the people’s choice in yesterday’s elections. The poor turned out in droves for the AKP. The campaign to revoke parliamentary immunity was useful for the CHP. In addition, it received huge support from cities casting their votes in favor of Dervis and out of fear of the AKP. However, these factors fell short of enabling the CHP to close the gap between itself and the AKP. At any rate, considering the traditional 35-65% balance between the right and left, reducing the AKP’s votes might have been possible if the center-right parties had managed to pass the 10% threshold. With the collapse of the center-right, the AKP captured 35% of the 65% of the right’s potential vote. The surprise dark horse party, the Young Party (GP), got 7% of the total vote. The Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) was incapable of reflecting its support in southeastern Anatolia in the country generally and thus it failed to meet the threshold. Ismail Cem’s New Turkey Party (YTP) also fell flat. Such parties as the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) and the Turkish Communist Party (TKP) remained at the margins. Now a new period awaits Turkey. AKP leader Tayyip Erdogan characterized the election results as ‘turning a new page.’ Erdogan’s emphasizing the ‘EU goal’ and his speaking about ‘economic stability’ was important in order to forestall negative interpretations of ‘moderate Islam’s election victory’ in the foreign press. Although he wasn’t elected to Parliament, Erdogan is speaking as if he is the prime minister. The AKP’s reaching a majority sufficient to enact a constitutional amendment made matters easier for Mr. Erdogan, who carried his party to the power. The leaders who lost the elections now have a new duty: tendering their resignations!”

    ARCHIVE

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